Get a GRIP

J. Michael DeAngelis, Digital Resources Manager

Looking for a summer internship or research placement?  Interested in going abroad during your time at Penn?  Find out how you can do both through Penn Abroad’s Global Research & Internship Program (GRIP)!  We have 200 internship and research opportunities available in a variety of career fields and locations.  All placements come with guaranteed funding!

The deadline to apply is January 6th, but all students must attend an advising session held by Penn Abroad before the end of the semester.  You can read more about GRIP and available Summer 2019 placements, as well as sign up for your advising session, on the website or by emailing  Deadlines are approaching, so act soon!

Negotiating Law School Scholarship Offers: Some Best (and Worst) Practices

Todd Rothman, Senior Associate Director

Merit scholarships to law school seem to be abounding these days and, as a result, more and more admitted students are negotiating the merit-based scholarship package they were initially awarded.  Although there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules for how these negotiations ought to proceed, it is becoming an increasingly common practice among scholarship awardees.  And while some law schools make it abundantly clear that these negotiations are unwelcome, many law schools will indeed engage in these conversations to provide admitted students with the most attractive financial package.

Since many admitted students understandably find these conversations to be challenging – and a little awkward – I thought I would provide a few best (and worst) practices as you attempt to navigate the sometimes thorny process of scholarship negotiation.

Best Practices

1. Before you contact any law schools for additional merit-based funding, you should have a full understanding of what the real costs of attending each law school will be.  Rather than merely comparing merit awards, you need to consider the full financial picture of the next three years.  This includes, but is not limited to, analyzing differences in sticker-price tuition costs (public vs. private), overall cost of living (housing, whether or not you will need a car), and the fine print of renewing your merit scholarship each year of law school.  Some law schools will provide the merit-based scholarship without any stipulations, while others might require you to maintain a certain GPA each year or finish in a certain percentile of your law school class.  When you consider all of these factors more comprehensively, it isn’t always the law school with the highest award that will be the most affordable.

2. Since every law school will likely handle these negotiations differently, it is always best to inquire with the law school directly – either by email or phone – about if/how they are interested in proceeding with this process.  In order to make the biggest initial impact, many law schools will start with their best offer and, if that is not substantial enough, their hands are essentially tied at that point.  If that is the case, it is best to find that out before you assume that they are open to further negotiations.  Many law schools will prefer you to start this process in writing – either a hard copy letter or an email – and will often ask that you also send (or attach) copies of the award letters from the other law schools to which you have been admitted.

3. Your correspondence with law schools should be professional and polite, but must also be undemanding and grateful in tone. Remember that applying to law school is the first step in your career as a lawyer and that includes, of course, all of these types of negotiations.  After all, this law school has not only admitted you to their incoming class, but has further incentivized you through merit-based awards.  Clearly, this is a law school that thinks very highly of your talents and potential contributions to their law school, so you should approach this process with care, caution, and appreciation.  Make sure that you reiterate in all correspondence how much you like their law school (and why), so that there is a bigger picture to your financial negotiating.  Keep in mind that you are asking for additional funding and that, much like anything else, you will get more bees with honey.

4. Only engage in negotiations with law schools that you would realistically attend, so that your conversations can be based on honesty and a genuine desire to make your financial package at a given law school work so that you might be able to enroll.  Otherwise, you are wasting everyone’s time, including your own.

Continue reading “Negotiating Law School Scholarship Offers: Some Best (and Worst) Practices”

Money, Money, errr…, Money?

Dr. Joseph Barber

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a funding version of LinkedIn, where you could provide details of what you wanted to be funded (e.g., you, your travel, your research), and then connect directly in a personal, one-one-one kind of way with relevant groups, organizations, or even individuals who had money they wanted to provide. Let’s call this wonder-website that doesn’t yet exist “FundIn”. Using this made-up FundIn website, and once you had created your personal and professional narrative on the site, you might even be approached by people who stumbled upon your profile, who see the great potential in your work, and who reach out to you to see if you would like to be funded. FundIn would be a melting pot of grant and fellowship seekers, professional associations, non-profits, foundations, private institutions, businesses, crowd-sourcing ventures, and philanthropists.

Talking of funding, surely venture capitalists would want to provide funding to this FundIn site because it would offer something that doesn’t currently exist, a one-stop shop for people seeking funding, and for entities trying to fund the best and most worthy individuals and groups. It would save everyone significant amounts of time. Since we all know that time = money, then FundIn would be an enterprise that is itself worth funding. Join me for a second in picturing this rosy future where FundIn is up and running, where researchers, scholars, and non-profits are easily finding the funding opportunities they seek, where there are thriving networks of people seeking funding connecting with those who have successfully received funding so that they can learn from any best practices, and where I have an enormous house somewhere in the vineyards of California funded by creating and bringing into existence FundIn

OK…, well that’s enough daydreaming. Let’s get back to the real world and figure out what you can do in this reality to navigate the rather more complicated and time-consuming process of seeking funding – a process that unfortunately doesn’t result in me having a large house in California…

A good starting point for your funding search are the funding pages on the Career Services website. You can link to the main funding page directly here. There is lots to see and do on this page, and we encourage you to explore these resources in more detail. You will find a couple of databases of funding sources – these are a good starting point for your exploration. Since the world of funding is a changeable one (money comes and goes, deadlines change, and so on), make sure you confirm any details you find in these databases by double-checking the details on the website of the founding source itself. We wouldn’t want you to miss any deadlines! Additionally, you will want to check out the online subscription we have to The Grant Advisor by visiting the online subscriptions page of the Career Services website. And don’t forget we also have some real, touchable, reference books in our Career Services library relevant to funding opportunities for you to look at. Stop by one day and browse some of these resources – while you are at Career Services you can drop in for walk-ins or make future appointments to speak with an advisor about seeking funding (or any other career-related topic) – and that’s not a bad way to make good use of your limited time!

Career Services works in partnership with the Graduate Student Center on many different types of programs – including one on “Navigating the Grant”. You can find previous funding presentations given at the GSC-organized Navigating the Grant conference here.

It is helpful to know what the different sources of funding are

• University (Department, School, student associations; student government)
• Professional associations
• Private foundations/individuals
• Advocacy organizations

…and what is typically funded:

• Types of research: humanities, social sciences, interdisciplinary research…
• Types of people: minorities, women, researchers from certain countries or backgrounds…
• Types of activity: travel, dissertation completion, fieldwork…

…because you don’t want to leave any stone unturned when it comes to finding the right source of funding for you. Look to your networks to find out what funding sources your peers and other Penn alumni have found. Connect with people who have already been awarded the fellowships and grants you are seeking, because they can offer you great insights into the process, and can talk about how they made a convincing argument to be funded. And above all…, always take the time to talk with grant coordinators and administrators. They are knowledgeable about every aspect of the process, and can tell you what types of proposals usually get funded, and even offer advice about how you might put forward the most compelling submission.

Remember…, the reason FundIn will be such a successful social networking platform (when someone decides to develop it) is that it connects individuals like you not only with information about funding opportunities, but also with the people connected to the funding sources (administrators, previous awardees, grant coordinators). It is the combination of knowledge about the different sources of funding that you can research, and the specific advice you can get from actual people (who can answer your specific questions) that will increase your chances of securing additional funding.